Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Recumbent
Reload this Page >

Trying out a bent

Notices
Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

Trying out a bent

Old 07-30-14, 05:59 PM
  #1  
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 238

Bikes: 1975 Coppi Campionissimo, 1980 Raleigh Grand Sport, 1983 Trek 520, 1983 Ciocc, 1995 Trek 520

Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Trying out a bent

My sister's late husband bought a recumbent, but ended up not using it much, and did all his touring on his DF bike, using a weird noseless saddle that he had to always push himself back onto. That's another story.

I did a 300 mile tour last week on my old Trek 520, 60 miles a day, and ended up with some pain afterwards, mainly low back pain and some hand numbness/weakness. So I hauled out the old recumbent to try it out. I had replaced the front wheel on it a few years ago, it had gotten bent up when someone was moving it. All I had to to today was to remove the huge fairing (too yellowed to see through) and replace the cable for the rear derailleur.

Here it is, I have no idea of the brand: (edit to add, I now know this is an Easy Racer)


I took it out on the road, and I am pretty skeptical of the ride. It seems like it would take me months to get to where I could climb a steep hill and stay in a 10" shoulder. It also seems to transmit road bumps right up through the seat to my spine. My back generally feels ok when riding it, until I hit a bump, then I can feel my back wanting to spasm.

So, what are the options for making the ride cushier? The seat doesn't seem to be suffering for padding, so should I consider putting a much wider rear tire on the bent?

And is this type of bent particularly unstable at low speeds compared to others?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
CAM00090.jpg (88.4 KB, 34 views)

Last edited by Galoot; 07-30-14 at 06:06 PM.
Galoot is offline  
Old 07-30-14, 06:11 PM
  #2  
That Huffy Guy
 
Johnny Mullet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Posts: 1,438

Bikes: Old School Huffy Bikes

Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Bents fly on flat ground, but come the hills, it's not the same.
Johnny Mullet is offline  
Old 07-30-14, 06:50 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
BlazingPedals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middle of da Mitten
Posts: 12,494

Bikes: Trek 7500, RANS V-Rex, Optima Baron, Velokraft NoCom, M-5 Carbon Highracer, Catrike Speed

Liked 738 Times in 458 Posts
You are correct, that is a TourEasy. It looks to be in nice shape, except for the cover on the Cobra seat. The Cobra was intended to give a good platform for pushing against, not necessarily to be nice to sensitive backs. You might look into getting some cushier upholstery foam instead of the fairly stiff layered foam the Cobra uses. The other option would involve some cash outlay, but you could replace the Cobra seat with a newer-style Koolback seat. This would allow you to recline slightly more, and you might find the mesh back more comfy (unfortunately, no guarantees.)

It does seem to take anywhere from 30 to 200 miles to get steadier on a 'bent. Even those of us who have been riding for years have to re-acclimate when we change 'bents; because they all seem to handle differently.

Even if the fairing is too yellowed to use, don't get rid of the mounting hardware. In fact, I've heard of people painting the old fairings (inside surface) as a way to make them look good again. They're supposed to be set up to look over the top of them, after all; so being opaque isn't that big a deal.
BlazingPedals is offline  
Old 07-30-14, 07:08 PM
  #4  
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 238

Bikes: 1975 Coppi Campionissimo, 1980 Raleigh Grand Sport, 1983 Trek 520, 1983 Ciocc, 1995 Trek 520

Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
The seat back isn't the problem, the seat bottom is the issue--transmitting bumps up through my butt to my lower back, compressing my discs. Is the Koolback more padded in the seat bottom too?

I'll put some miles on it this next week, though I think I have to start by tying it on top of my car and hauling it up to the nearest multi-use path. That way I can get used to it without worrying about getting run over by cars passing by.

My late brother-in-law definitely had the fairing set up so that he would have been looking through it.

How high should the ends of the bars be? The left bar-end shifter easily interferes with my left knee.
Galoot is offline  
Old 07-31-14, 03:50 PM
  #5  
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 238

Bikes: 1975 Coppi Campionissimo, 1980 Raleigh Grand Sport, 1983 Trek 520, 1983 Ciocc, 1995 Trek 520

Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
OK, I went and did 21 miles on the bike path, and I am much more comfortable with how the bike handles. By the end of the ride, I mostly had it wired.

But I am still very skeptical about it being any better than my DF bike. I got numbness in both my feet after 10 miles, and from what I gather, this is fairly common. I'll try it again tomorrow with my biking sandals, which have stiff soles. They should keep any pedal pressure from being transmitted to the balls of my feet.

And the bumps are really hard on my lower back. I could see adding a gel pad and improving this, but it would have to be a huge improvement.

From what I gather, some small percentage of bent riders get numb toes, no matter what. I'm one of those riders. I suppose I could get used to it, but I can't help but thinking that it will cause long-term damage to my feet.
Galoot is offline  
Old 07-31-14, 07:29 PM
  #6  
Banned
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 9,924

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Liked 1,057 Times in 636 Posts
The old wives tail about bents and climbing is not necessarily true. A few years back a Rans team on their Xstream bents actually increased their lead riding up the west side of the Rocky mountains. It all depends on the motor.
rydabent is offline  
Old 07-31-14, 07:35 PM
  #7  
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 238

Bikes: 1975 Coppi Campionissimo, 1980 Raleigh Grand Sport, 1983 Trek 520, 1983 Ciocc, 1995 Trek 520

Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
I'm not particularly concerned about the climbing issue. It's all the other stuff that concerns me.
Galoot is offline  
Old 08-01-14, 05:03 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
BlazingPedals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middle of da Mitten
Posts: 12,494

Bikes: Trek 7500, RANS V-Rex, Optima Baron, Velokraft NoCom, M-5 Carbon Highracer, Catrike Speed

Liked 738 Times in 458 Posts
If you have a bad back, then you may need some sort of accommodation, even with a bent. Softer seat foam, more recline... maybe what you need is a completely different design than the TourEasy. After all, bent's aren't all alike.
BlazingPedals is offline  
Old 08-01-14, 06:40 PM
  #9  
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 238

Bikes: 1975 Coppi Campionissimo, 1980 Raleigh Grand Sport, 1983 Trek 520, 1983 Ciocc, 1995 Trek 520

Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by rydabent
The old wives tail about bents and climbing is not necessarily true. A few years back a Rans team on their Xstream bents actually increased their lead riding up the west side of the Rocky mountains. It all depends on the motor.
This is pretty much useless as an assessment. I tried the 'bent on a hill I rode last week, the first day of my tour. On an unloaded recumbent with far far lower gearing, I made it less than half the distance up the hill than I was able to do last week, at the *beginning* of a tour, with a loaded bike (probably 30 lbs or more of camping/cycling gear).

I'm the motor. With the same motor, I am apparently crippled going uphills. It makes sense, of course, since I can't use my bodyweight to push on the pedals. I knew this, but today really brought it home.

I took the bike over to Easy Racer today since I live less than 45 minutes from their shop. They were brilliant. They replaced the seat bolts so that it was properly adjustable, replaced the seat foam so that it was much cushier (the old foam had gone stiff from age) and did a drive train tune-up.

I still love the way the Easy Racer rides on the flats, gentle hills, and downhills. But I'm not going to use it as a touring bike, since I would be walking up any big hills.
Galoot is offline  
Old 08-02-14, 03:17 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 208
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Galoot
This is pretty much useless as an assessment. I tried the 'bent on a hill I rode last week, the first day of my tour. On an unloaded recumbent with far far lower gearing, I made it less than half the distance up the hill than I was able to do last week, at the *beginning* of a tour, with a loaded bike (probably 30 lbs or more of camping/cycling gear).

I'm the motor. With the same motor, I am apparently crippled going uphills. It makes sense, of course, since I can't use my bodyweight to push on the pedals. I knew this, but today really brought it home.
I NEVER rode a DF the way I rode my Gold Rush/GRR (aluminum version of the TE). On the DF I could mash and/or stand on the pedals and basically **** around with my pedaling while paying far less of a penalty than on the GRR. The GRR was heavier - it's that simple. So I had to learn to spin, not mash, the pedals. With low gearing and about 3000 miles practice, I could ride it at 4mph up inclines under touring loads without wobbling - though at first, the bike's length coupled with my tendency to over-steer and to mash made that quite impossible.

It takes time to learn to ride it well - at least in my case. YMMV
dual650c is offline  
Old 08-02-14, 03:53 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
downtube42's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,955

Bikes: Trek Domane SL6 Gen 3, Soma Fog Cutter, Focus Mares AL, Detroit Bikes Sparrow FG, Volae Team, Nimbus MUni

Liked 2,181 Times in 1,147 Posts
There are a number of variables that can make your experience different than others, when it comes to your back on a 'bent. Your particular spinal issue, combined with the position this seat puts your spine in, makes all the difference in the world. It could be that your spine cannot tolerate vertical vibration or movement even if it's in a perfect S. Or it could be that a change in seatback shape and angle will make all the difference.

As far as climbing goes, that's fodder for endless argument. Many of us have done loaded touring, climbed mountain passes, etc; you'll find all nature of opinions about climbing ability. Doesn't matter. If you can get the bike configured to be able to ride pain free, the rest won't matter.
downtube42 is offline  
Old 08-02-14, 06:31 AM
  #12  
Banned
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 9,924

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Liked 1,057 Times in 636 Posts
Remember tho, it does take a while to get your "bent legs". This really is a fact. I personally noticed that when I was riding a DF the muscles on the outside of my thigh got big and hard. Now on bents the muscles on the inside of the thigh are the ones that bulk up.
rydabent is offline  
Old 08-02-14, 01:54 PM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Sin City, Nevada
Posts: 2,903

Bikes: Catrike 700, Greenspeed GTO trike, , Linear LWB recumbent, Haluzak Horizon SWB recumbent, Balance 450 MTB, Cannondale SM800 Beast of the East

Likes: 0
Liked 240 Times in 189 Posts
+1 to recumbents using different muscles than DF bikes. It is very common for new riders to take a couple months to get similar output on a bent as they did on a DF bike. If you are getting numb toes, are you sure you have the distance between the seat and bottom bracket correct? The other possibility relates to using clip in shoes. I'm no expert on these as I only use strapless toe clips on my own recumbents. From what I have read about this complaint on bentrideronline there are ways to correct the problem. Go there and look for a solution.
VegasTriker is offline  
Old 08-02-14, 08:38 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
BlazingPedals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middle of da Mitten
Posts: 12,494

Bikes: Trek 7500, RANS V-Rex, Optima Baron, Velokraft NoCom, M-5 Carbon Highracer, Catrike Speed

Liked 738 Times in 458 Posts
After being on the work bench for a couple of years getting carbon work done, I've had my NoCom back on the road for about 2 weeks now. For anyone who doesn't know, a NoCom is STINKING fast. And yet, for those two weeks, I've been unable to get it going like it deserves to be ridden. Until today, that is. Finally, after two weeks, I think I'm getting my NoCom muscles. It seemed like every time I turned the pedals today, I FLEW off the front of the group. Hills and especially headwind just didn't matter.

The NoCom's riding position is pretty similar to what I've been riding so far this summer; and if it takes a few weeks for me to completely switch over from my other bikes, then you know switching between an upright and any bent is going to take longer. I'd plan on taking at least 1000 miles for an 'average speed' upright rider.
BlazingPedals is offline  
Old 08-03-14, 03:29 PM
  #15  
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 238

Bikes: 1975 Coppi Campionissimo, 1980 Raleigh Grand Sport, 1983 Trek 520, 1983 Ciocc, 1995 Trek 520

Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
I went for a ride with a friend today, a somewhat hilly loop around the reservoirs near Morgan Hill CA, for a total of 30 miles. I'm getting more used to the hills, though I'm still dead slow uphill. I put the Zipper fairing on that was with the bike, and I was pretty stunned by the downhill performance with the fairing. Some road racer passed us at the top of a hill going very fast, but I nearly caught him on the downhill, which surprised me greatly. Going upwind also seemed fairly easy.

I'm still open to the idea of touring on this bike, just because it is so amazingly comfortable now that I have fixed the seat padding and seat position. I no longer get numb toes, nor do I feel road bumps shocking my lower back. I feel like I could ride the thing all day long.
Galoot is offline  
Old 08-03-14, 08:48 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
delcrossv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Scalarville
Posts: 1,454
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Galoot
I feel like I could ride the thing all day long.
Welcome to the club.
delcrossv is offline  
Old 08-04-14, 11:17 AM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
BlazingPedals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middle of da Mitten
Posts: 12,494

Bikes: Trek 7500, RANS V-Rex, Optima Baron, Velokraft NoCom, M-5 Carbon Highracer, Catrike Speed

Liked 738 Times in 458 Posts
Yeah, add a fairing and the acceleration on even a slight downhill can be shocking.
BlazingPedals is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
curbtender
Recumbent
11
08-16-18 05:25 PM
GetUpnGo
Fifty Plus (50+)
32
07-23-17 08:10 PM
james_v
Fifty Plus (50+)
15
02-11-16 06:37 AM
kiltedcelt
Recumbent
16
08-29-11 08:35 AM
heavdog
Recumbent
7
06-05-11 04:38 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.